|ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING STAR PLACES THIRD AT PENULTIMATE ROUND TO RETAIN POINTS LEAD|
|Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Colton Haaker has maintained his position at the top of the FIM SuperEnduro World Championship standings following a third-place result at the penultimate round of the series in Budapest, Hungary. Enjoying three fourth place results, Haaker’s Rockstar Energy Husqvarna teammate Alfredo Gomez placed a strong fourth overall.
In the first of the night’s three finals, Haaker found himself boxed in at the first corner and had to work extremely hard in order to work his way up the leaderboard during the following laps. Climbing up to third, he applied pressure on close rival Taddy Blazusiak hoping for a mistake. But with Blazusiak managing to stay ahead, Haaker finished third.
Starting from row two for the second race, Haaker cleverly found some clear space in the first corner and shot into an early lead. With a clear track to enjoy, he put in some of his best laps of the night, pulling away from the chasing pack to claim a comfortable eight-second margin of victory.
Knowing the night’s overall result would come down to the third and final race, he quickly slotted into second behind Blazusiak on the opening lap. But again – despite giving his all – the relatively single-lined course made it difficult to put a wheel in front of his rival. Ending the race second, Haaker claimed third overall. But by keeping his championship lead intact, the two-time world champion will head to the final round of the season with a healthy 12-point advantage at the top of the standings.
For teammate Alfredo Gomez, it was another night of progress as the Spaniard continues to recover from the elbow injury he sustained at round two in Germany. Despite the fast and less-technical nature of the Budapest course, the Husqvarna rider did all he could to challenge for a place on the podium. Knowing that the limited movement in his elbow would make things difficult on the high-speed sections of the track, Gomez simply attacked where he could and played safe where he couldn’t.
That tactic worked out as he scored a trio of fourth place results on the night. With two months remaining before the final round of the series takes place in Bilbao, the Spaniard has his sights set on a podium result at his home round of the series.
The 2019 FIM SuperEnduro World Championship concludes with the fifth and final round of the series in Bilbao, Spain on April 6.
Colton Haaker: “It’s been a really close battle out on track all night. Cody, Taddy and myself have been pushing hard and swapping places and that’s kept things tight. I had the speed to win, it was just a matter of a couple little things not going my way that pushed me back to third. I stalled the bike in a corner and that cost me some valuable points. I fought hard with Taddy in race one but on a relatively single-lined track he played smart and kept me behind. I managed a great start in race two and came out of the first corner in the lead despite starting on row two and was able to pull away for an eight-second win. I knew race three would decide the overall between us three and I gave it everything I had to put a wheel on Taddy, but credit to him he closed the door every time. Overall, it’s been a good clean night of racing and although I lost a couple of points in the championship, I’ve still got the red plate with a 12-point lead heading into the final round in Spain.”
Alfredo Gomez: “With three fourth-place results I feel like I rode smooth and consistent out there tonight. But to be honest it wasn’t my kind of track. It was too fast for me and there were not enough technical sections to gain advantage on. My elbow is getting better all of the time, but I’m still only four weeks into a six-week injury so I need a little more time to return to 100 per cent. I guess that’s reflected in tonight. At times I struggled to hold on in the fast sections. But credit also to the top three, they’re really pushing the pace. With about two months to go until the final round in Bilbao I have time now to return to my best and try to fight for another podium result there.”
Results – SuperEnduro World Championship, Round 4
Championship Standings (After Round 4)